Stormy is out now!
Image: Nick Paulsen.
Aotearoa artist, and the Fat Freddys Drop frontman, Dallas Tamaira (aka Joe Dukie) has unveiled his new single Stormy, alongside the announcement of his first full solo EP in over two decades. We caught up with the musician to unpack the release, his approach to solo writing, hitting the stage without Fat Freddys Drop and so much more!
Your new single Stormy is out now! Tell tell me a bit about about the song and the inspiration behind it, how it came to be?
Stormy's part of the EP that I'll be releasing later in November. So it's the second single that I'm releasing from that EP. That EP I wrote during COVID, during lockdown. Stormy, like most of the tracks on the EP, are songs songs from that time. Observing the family, how we how we coped through that time. Stormy's a little bit about how we tried to give thanks for what we had. It’s a song about gratitude.
The songs sonic palette is this beautiful mix of soul with a jazz edge and vintage dub sounds. How did you craft the overall sonic realm this song exists within?
So my producer Devon Abrams, me and him have been working together for a long time. We've just been working towards a sound that was a little bit different than Fat Freddy's, which is the band that I'm in. I’m in another band called Fat Freddy's which is more kind of focused on electronic music and things like reggae and dub, house, techno bit of that stuff as well. So yeah, we've just been steadily working towards, like you say, another palette of sounds. And the difference between this and the last three singles that I released is that this was done with a band, with the same rhythm section, all six songs recorded in the studio and nice big long takes and beautiful performances. So you do get some of the songs traveling really well in terms of the journey and and the playing and the performing.And I guess that process is what was different from the first three singles, being able to be in the studio with them. You know, just really good musicians, people who know the instruments really well, spend a lot of time on them and really professional. All of that stuff.
I love that, and I think their devotion to their craft really shines through on the track. Is that like a particular like line, lyrical musical motif from Stormy that you find gets stuck in your head? Or maybe one that you're most proud of?
I think maybe probably the one that sticks in my head the most is "you can't stop the rain from falling. The wind will always blow,” that kind of stuff. Really simple lyrics, but that's actually a fair description of Wellington, which is where I'm from. And in many ways the song is kind of like just a low key dedication to this place because we love to live here, the locals love to live here, but we also love to complain about this place as well. So that's probably the line that sticks out the most.
Yeah, I get it. I love that, the thought of complaining about your surroundings but ultimately loving every bit of it. You mentioned earlier that the song will be appearing on your EP, which is super exciting. I's your first full solo EP. So why do you think like now was the right timing to make this project?
That's a good question. I started the actual solo solo project two or three years ago and that was independently releasing singles. So one song at a time and I did three releases by myself and was really happy with what I learned in the process of releasing it. That's kind of like one of the reasons why I wanted to release it, was just to get get familiar with the new process of releasing music and more the digital kind of side of things. So there's just a progression on from there just to put more songs together. Also there's only so much you can say about your music and what you love about music and singles, like one song at a time. So I think a body of work says a lot more you you have more tools to use to to create some kind of journey or narrative or just tell people a little bit more about yourself with six songs rather than one.
You mentioned that you just kind of enjoyed the process of releasing a bunch of singles and exploring the digital age of sharing music. Obviously, you've been creating music with Fat Freddy's Drop for over 20 years now. But how do you think your artistry has evolved into what you're presenting on this collection of songs?
That's another good question. I think I just have a deeper pull to pull things like lyrics and stories and ideas from now just through having lived a long life, you know [laughs]. And the experience is obviously traveling overseas, you know, we traveled to Europe once or twice a year and we have a quite a quite a good following over there. So we keep going back there, also you know to Australia which is always, you know, we're building our following there as well and always return there. That's a regular thing. So I think traveling is you know, I feel like just experience. I mean for this project, like I said before, creating a different palette of sounds has been something that I've been working towards. So I think more than the first three releases, this one is really heading in the right direction. We're we're really pulling it all together now. It feels feels really cohesive.
How do you find it differs writing and creating for your solo music, when compared to creating for Fat Freddy’s Drop? Do you think your your process towards either is altered at all or do you think you approach them both the same way?
Yeah, they're quite different I think. So the songs for the solo project, you know there's a little bit more thought put into the writing of the of the lyrics and the melodies beforehand. So a little bit more just kind of thought, a few more demos. With Freddy’s, it really is the way that we write together as a band is just, a lot of it is improvisation. We improvise for maybe an hour at a time [laughs], what can be an hour. And then really just kind of like go back and then look at what we've done. So yeah, I guess there's just a little bit more preparation when it comes to the solo stuff. Also think that the songs and the writing is a little bit more personal. You know, more about my relationships with my family or my partner and just my views of the world and the things that I see. Whereas with Freddy's, I'm representing the band, the seven people in the band.
It’s great to have these two different avenues of a musical output as well and fully delve into your creativity in different ways. Do you have any solo live show plans once the EP out?
We've got a couple of shows booked already. It’s been quite hard to nail down the musicians, like trying to get everybody in one place at one time is proving to be a little bit difficult. But there's plenty of offers and plenty of opportunities there to perform live and mostly really keen to get into it and yeah.
Is it daunting having gone from, you know, twenty years kind of touring with the same lineup and really knowing building that on stage bond, to then then putting together a new band for your solo live show?
Yeah, I mean, it's a little bit kind of daunting when I tried to put them in the same category. So I’ve had to really kind of partition that. Really had to kind of like separate the two projects in terms of live entities because Fat Freddy's is such a massive production now, lots of crew. So I mean yeah, if I was to compare it to Freddy's then it would be a little bit daunting and a little bit scary. But I think the key is to just start somewhere, and that somewhere could be a little bit smaller and a little bit more realistic. At the moment, obviously rehearsing the songs by myself, so my kopapa at the moment is to learn the songs until they feel familiar. Which is kind of what I'm used to with Freddy's, you know, those songs are very familiar to me. So I'm just putting them in a familiar place.
Stormy is out now!